Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fog, Frost, and Sunrise

The GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) hasn't gone well for me again this year.  It started on Friday.  I saw what might have been a crow - it flew like a crow and was about the right size - but it was too far off be sure.  I didn't enter it on the website.  Nothing on Saturday.  This morning I saw five pigeons set down in a field.  That's all.   Monday - President's Day - is the last day of the count.  Maybe I'll see something to report.   Can't expect high counts or varieties of birds in the Northwoods in the middle of winter.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Blitzen found an open desk drawer

The kittens made their first kill today.  This morning a vole ran across the floor w/ Dunder in close pursuit.  I let out a scream (surprised the breakfast souffle in the oven didn't fall).  Blitzen realized something was up and joined in.  They lost sight of the vole near the fireplace and both hunched down in a typical cat's active-wait pose.  I left them alone.  In less than a half-hour Dunder was playing w/ a carcass in the middle of the floor.  A dustpan and broom later the critter was just a memory.  Don't feel squeamish at this story -  the kittens, just like Indy, have responsibilities in this household and they were doing their job.  It also helps that Disney has never made an animated movie starring cuddly little voles.

Friday, February 16, 2018

1939 - June, Nedra, Irene, and Lillian

In honor of the Winter Olympics I put out a pic of a ski jump - at least it looks like ski jumps from that era.  The three sisters - June, Irene, Lillian and their friend Nedra Briggs.

Happy Lunar New Year!  I had Mongolian Beef w/ vegetable fried rice for dinner.  It's the Year of the Dog so Indy got all of the beef chunks in it (I don't like them anyway.)  Good thing she has an iron stomach. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

1950 - Rodney Bollman and Ruth Kurtz wedding

Thanks to my family I now can put a name to everyone in the picture. The bride and groom are, of course, Rodney and Ruth. The groomsmen are Sam Wilder and the groom's brother Thane Bollman.  The bridesmaids are the bride's sister Beverly and Louise Wilder.  The ring bearer is the bride's nephew Phil Mayer and the flower girl is her niece Ann Mayer. Pretty sure they were married at Riverside Mission near both of their homes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

1946 - Fred Schambers and Beverly Kurtz wedding

A warm day here - well, relatively speaking. It might have gotten above freezing.  Took the opportunity to take old documents out to Ragnarok and burn them.  Don't need a burn permit when there is snow cover and no need to make sure the fire goes out.  Sat on the benches and watched for awhile as Indy nosed around.  It's been awhile since I could sit outside in the sun.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

1941 - Neil Mayer and Irene Kurtz wedding

They were married in the same house where Neil was born.  The small picture is Walter Mayer, Neil Mayer, Irene Kurtz, and June Kurtz.  Neil was working as a dairy farmer and Irene was working in Winnetka as a maid.  Neil traveled to Winnetka just to propose.  Irene kept working in Winnetka up until the wedding.  I asked why she picked calla lilies for her bouquet and she explained she didn't have time to plan anything except to purchase a long wedding gown and veil.   Everything else was left up to the families back home to arrange and I guess they liked callas.  The dress turned out to be a good deal since it has been worn by many more family members throughout the years.

Monday, February 12, 2018

1939 - Walter Mayer and Lillian Kurtz wedding day

I'm not sure where the ceremony took place but the picture is outside the Emil and Pearl Mayer home.  From left to right: Neil Mayer, Irene Kurtz, Walter Mayer, Lillian Kurtz, June Kurtz, and Erling Blyseth.  Mom told me Uncle Walter spent the morning working on engines so came into the house covered in grease and oil - took a bit to get cleaned up before the wedding.  Instead of a long wedding dress, Aunt Lillian wore her best church dress.  Just a guess but I'd bet the flowers came from the groom's mother's flower garden.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Golden fog over the swamps

Not much to report.  Blitzen will entertain herself if she has a little ball w/ a bell in it. She'll chase it around, pounce on it, pick it up in her mouth and drop it near my feet so I can throw it for her again.  If I'm not around she'll often drop it in the dog's water dish and slap at the water until she gets it back out.  Hence all of the water on the floor around that dish.  Dunder is still jumping for push pins on my cork board.  Found the North American Indian language map on the floor - he had to jump five feet straight up to get that one down.   Both kittens are still totally ignoring the book shelves I set up for them to climb on.   Called Indy over to the couch to watch the Westminster Dog Agility trials w/ me on TV.  She didn't seem interested - if there wasn't a squirrel involved, why bother w/ all of that jumping and leaping?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

Dunder and Blitzen were sitting on the back of a stuffed chair watching this little guy.  I figured it was a vole.  Voles are active in the winter time making tunnels under the snow to den and find seeds  to eat.  Voles are sociable and there were two of these little guys tunneling up and down through the snow on the deck.  A flock of goldfinches had stopped by earlier and tossed about sunflower and Niger seeds - just what a little vole would eat.  It's tail was too short to be a mouse.  This had to be a vole.  When I downloaded the pictures and blew them up - they were pics of shrews!  That posed some problems.  Why were there two shrews when they are notoriously solitary creatures (mating season starts in April but maybe there are exceptions).  I knew shrews didn't hibernate but I hardly expected them to be this active - they handle the cold months in the Northwoods by shrinking their body mass, caching food, and going into a torpor.  Shrews are insectivores - what was this guy looking for?  A quick google look-up and I found out.  By the way - don't try to catch shrews.  I read that a shrew's bite is poisonous (enough to kill a vole but not a person) and they have truly odorous scent glands (probably the reason Orion would catch them but not eat them).

Friday, February 09, 2018


Irene Kurtz and her Sunday school class.  Assume it's some sort of special occasion since they all are carrying matching Bibles.  1939
 High school graduation for Beverly Kurtz in California (I think).  1943.

Al Smith - just going into the service or just coming home from it.  1944

Thursday, February 08, 2018

1898 - Emil Mayer Confirmation Class

Guessed at the date.  Pastor Ludwig and Mr. Schoenek  decided to have a confirmation class at the Mayer log cabin for the kids in the surrounding area.  Each week Pastor Ludwig came and conducted classes for Carrie, Christ, and the Schoenek kids plus a few others.  Later Emil was included in the class.  From left to right: Emil Mayer, Annie Prell, Ferdinand Schoenek, Pastor Ludwig, unknown girl, John Oertel, another unknown girl, Fritz Keiling. The Pastor must have included all the conferments into one class for confirmation day.  Notice everyone has fresh flowers and nice looking suits: can't tell the farm kids from the city kids.  There is a question if  Annie Prell’s dress has a large arm ruffle or if it’s a bandage on Emil Mayer’s hand.  He hurt his hand when he was 14.  However, I think Grandpa told me he once practically cut his thumb off.  If this was the bandage for that wound it would be higher up the hand.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

1937 - Nursing graduation

The date is a guess on my part.  Picture is of Lillian Kurtz taken on the Chester and Daisy Kurtz farm. 

Mailed both my federal and state taxes off today.  When the Feds first offered the option of e-mailing tax forms to them I chose not to do it since I had to pay for the 'service'.  Why should I pay extra for something that would cut their costs and streamline their processes?  Now I don't e-mail because all government agencies seem to leak information like a sieve.  'Snail mail' will do for these transactions.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

1936 - Nedra Briggs and Irene Kurtz graduation

As my brother pointed out, graduation gowns haven't changed much.  Red and White are the school colors so dad's gown was probably red.  When I graduated though the girl's gowns were white.  These look like they might have been red. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

1937 - Graduation

 Picture taken on the Emil & Pearl Mayer farm.  It's Neil and Herbert both in their highschool graduation garb.